Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Two Towers
By Sarah King, SNN Senior Editor, Ascension Collegiate, Bay Roberts, NL
It has it all. Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Drama, and Romance … something for everyone. No, I'm not talking about high school, or Days of Our Lives. I'm talking about the second installment in the hugely popular Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Two Towers.
I'll admit it; I had very little interest in Lord of the Rings before last year, when "The Fellowship of the Ring" hit theatres everywhere. The trailer looked pretty interesting, so I said, "hmm, Maybe I'll read the book. Then I'll decide whether I want to see the movie or not." At a daunting 535 pages, plus indexes, plus foreword, plus maps, by the time I had finished the book, the movie had left theatres. So I waited until it came out on video. Then something came up, and I didn't actually watch "The Fellowship" until October of this year. And I was hooked.
Peter Jackson, as director, does a superb job of re-creating J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle-Earth, including the Shire, Mordor, Gondor, and the host of characters that inhabit them. Filmed in New Zealand, the movies are set amongst some of the most breathtaking scenery on the planet.
In "The Two Towers" the Fellowship is broken. Sam and Merry (Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan) are travelling with a group of Orcs towards Isengard to meet the Dark Lord, Saruman. (For those of you who are unacquainted with Middle-Earth's creatures, Orcs are Nasty, Ugly creatures who are under the influence of the evil Saruman, a wizard.) Frodo and Sam (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin) have split from the rest of the Fellowship to carry the "one ring" to Mount Doom to destroy it. Along the way they encounter Gollum, (Andy Serkis) one of the original ring-bearers, a former hobbit whose multiple personalities both help and hinder the hobbits in their quest.
Gollum is by far my favourite character in "The Two Towers". A computer generated image; his freakishly skinny body and expressive eyes leave nothing to be lacked. An interesting side note: Gollum was acted during the filming of the movies by Andy Serkis to make the filming easier for the rest of the actors who had to interact with him. In post-production, Serkis donned a motion capture suit and performed each scene for a computer in order to co-ordinate Gollum's movements with the film. Serkis did such an amazing job, director Peter Jackson and producer Barrie Osborne are pushing for an Oscar nomination. Says Osborne on Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) "The performance is really driven by Andy. He deserves a nomination for a Supporting Actor Oscar and we are going to campaign for him to get one."
As for the rest of the Fellowship, moviegoers are greeted with the return of an old friend. Gandalf (Ian McKellen), who fell into an abyss in the Mines of Moria during the "Fellowship of the Ring", reappears even more powerful than ever. Now Gandalf-the-White, Gandalf defeated the Balrog that dragged him down into the chasm, and returned to guide remaining Fellowship members Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli (Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom and John Rhys-Davies) on their adventures through Middle-Earth.
The film culminates with the 40-minute long battle of Helm's Deep, when a small village of men takes on Saruman's army of over 10,000 Uruk-Hai. Uruk-Hai are basically Orcs gone horribly, horribly wrong. They have been trained by Saruman to be evil fighters for the forces of darkness. The battle sequence took months of night shooting, in horrific conditions. To obtain that eerie, dark atmosphere, Jackson decided that the scene should be set, not only at night, but also in the pouring rain. By the end of shooting, T-shirts had circulated among the cast and the hundreds of extras saying "I Survived Helm's Deep"!
Since "The Two Towers" hit theatres on December 18th, 2002, I've seen it three times. That says a lot, for the actors and actresses, the director and producers, and all the rest of the production crew.
Here's to them… my rating of FIVE stars (out of four) * * * * *.
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